20 Best Saxophones- the Top Sax Brands & Brands to Avoid

Written by WhistleAway

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or a professional player, choosing a saxophone is a commitment and needs to involve a lot of keenness and thought. For beginners, making this choice can be daunting due to a lack of experience. This is why gathering information about different types and brands of saxophones is essential in choosing the right fit for you personally.

As a beginner, you might have to battle with questions such as, do I buy a new one or just acquire one of the vintage pieces? You will need to analyze factors such as the pricing of the different instruments, the varying features of each, and your level of expertise. Your ability as a player will determine whether you are ready to upgrade to higher instruments. For example, beginners are advised to start with altos since they are less difficult to use and allow for quicker learning. Bass and soprano tend to be more challenging and will require some level of skill to perfect. Your aim is to get value for your money, and a unit that actually enables you to hone your skill and make those tunes you desire.

A player also needs to decide whether they will rent a saxophone or buy one. However, it is always advisable to buy your own because:

  • You might use the instrument for a longer period than anticipated until the cost of renting it comes close or exceeds the purchase price. Also,
  • Renting includes paying for any damages, which can be even more expensive.
  • Some rented music instruments are not properly maintained and might produce poorer sound.

Some of the common saxophone brands

saxophone brands for beginners

Yamaha, which is a globally recognized and respected brand that does not compromise when it comes to price. They know how good their products are and hence they get the best deal out of them.

Yanagisawa has been in the market for years now and was reportedly founded in the late 1890s. Their signature material is bronze that creates a unique and wholesome tone we appreciate them for

Jupiter is considered one of the newcomers even though they have been around since 1980, which shows they always try to improve their products to challenge others in the market

Medini by Cecilio is not very well known, but its instruments have a good reputation. Their ability to charge a little lower for their equipment makes them a good solution for beginners who don’t intend to spend a lot but still want a good quality instrument.

Jean-Paul in the US has built quite a respectable reputation with their products over the years. They combine affordability with reliability with their instruments, which is why beginners and intermediate players prefer this brand.

Brands such as Lazarro, Cannonball, and Kaizer also try to produce quality instruments; however, they have to be overshadowed by the likes of Yamaha, but their customers produce positive feedback regarding their instruments.

20 of the best saxophones in the marke

With my help, you will identify the trusted sax brands and also the saxophone brands to avoid. I have compiled an extensive list of 20 of the best saxophones in the market right now that you need to take into consideration.

Mendini by Cecilio MAS Alto saxophone

By the well-known Cecilio, this instrument is favorable for beginners and is also ideal for intermediate and professional players. This instrument is even recommended for solo or band use.

Some of its features include:

  • Gold body and keys as well
  • Large bore suitable for younger players
  • Contoured keys with fast response
  • Faux inlays
  • Ribbed construction
  • Metal tone boosters

The instrument is around 9.7 pounds in weight and 26 inches in height. What is great about Mendini instruments is the fact that they playtest them before making the sales. Furthermore, the instrument comes with a 1 warranty.


The instrument comes with a hard-shelled case well-padded for protection during transport. The package comes with a mouthpiece, 10 more reeds, a neck strap, and also cleaning materials, including a rod and a cloth.  The pricing of this instrument is also quite favorable to saxophonists considering the quality of this instrument.

Jean-Paul TS-400 Student Saxophone(Tenor)


Jean-Paul is a trusted sax brand, and it did not disappoint with the TS-400 Tenor Sax. This instrument is reliable for beginner players and also the intermediate level saxophonists. It offers a superb tone and is part of the Key Bb family. This Sax has a great range and amazing intonation. It is also has a comfortable key placement that favors the learners and makes gaining experience easier.

The features of this piece include;

  • A brass shiny yellow body with elegant lacquer finishing
  • Key Bb
  • 15 pounds in weight
  • Great accessories such as extra reeds, a multipurpose carrying case with extra pockets,
  • Gloves
  • Cleaning materials and a mouthpiece

However, this instrument type does not come with a Sax mute.

Check out the reviews and pricing of this item on Amazon

Yamaha 480 Intermediate Eb Alto Saxophone


One of the top sax brands that appear almost any list of musical instruments is Yamaha. This brand is known for its amazing construction as well as using high-quality materials when crafting their instruments. This brand always aims to improve their products by taking client recommendations into account when improving features.

With the Yamaha YAS-480 intermediate Saxophone, you get an instrument constructed with light and at the same time, durable material. It is also very classy with an engraved pattern on the bell that is meant to inspire confidence to the owner. This instrument has a professional quality 62- type neck that allows for more mature sound. The Yamaha YAS-480 flute has very accurate intonation and amazing response. It is also flexible as it provides the choice between the 62 style neck or the custom Z, or even Custom EX necks. 

This saxophone is advisable for the intermediate players and also works well for professionals. However, it does not come for cheap. It is a high-quality saxophone with a price that matches great nature.

Here is a list of the features

  • Metal covered with hand engraving
  • Fits with Custom EX and Custom Z necks
  • Key Ee
  • Has a keyguard
  • 17.7 pounds in weight
  • Left-hand Seesaw Key
  • It comes with a case, a mouthpiece and a neck strap.

Here is a link to where you can find it on Amazon

Selmer Prelude AS711 Alto Saxophone


Selmer is a well-recognized brand for musical instruments, and their Prelude AS711 Alto Sax showed their mastery. This saxophone is considered by far one of the best options for beginners. The design of the AS711- Student Alto Sax allows for comfortable positioning when playing. It has a yellow body made of brass and ribbed construction. It has increased durability and strength thanks to the body to bow connection that is reinforced.

Prelude series of instruments combine precise specifications with affordability, making it rank as one of the best for any starting saxophone player. It is great for students in bands.

Features of this saxophone

  • Brass yellow elegant body with lacquer finish and an engraved bell
  • Yellow brass keys
  • Neck strap
  • Cork grease
  • Hardened case with extra reeds, a mouthpiece and maintenance materials
  • 3 pounds in weight
  • Leather pads
  • Metal resonator

For intermediate and professional saxophonists, this might not be the instrument for you.

Check out this instrument on amazon on the link below

Jean-Paul AS-400 Saxophone Alto


Also making the list is another instrument by Jean-Paul, the brand known for excelling in client satisfaction. The AS-400 like other saxophones from this brand is designed to allow use by beginner players and also intermediate ones. This model has been built with an excellent lacquer finish in an elegant yellow brass body. The saxophone produces superb tone as well as a sufficiently rounded intonation making it a very good option for the band playing.

The pricing of this instrument is reasonable, and therefore it is suitable for a starter saxophone for students.

The brand offers a 1-year warranty for the AS 400 Alto Sax on the part and also labor.

Below are some of the features

  • Yellow lacquered brass body
  • Eb Key
  • Balanced key action
  • A contoured case for easy transport
  • The package comes with an extra Rico reed, 1 pair of gloves, cleaning materials, and a mouthpiece.

Here is a link to the item on Amazon.

Yanagisawa  WO20 Alto Saxophone

Yanagisawa makes the highest quality professional saxophones on the market today! Yanagisawa A-WO20 elite model. photo source:

Yanagisawa brand went all out in this saxophone. The WO20 series saxophone is a true elite model instrument. It is covered in bronze and has a beautiful design that professionals all want in their instrument. This piece represents top tier craftsmanship, and it is a favorite among professionals. It has a medium level of resistance and provides a lot of flexibility and offers players the freedom of expression which is not matched by some professional pieces.

This piece comes with a wooden shell casing with velvet lining and also back straps.

  • Specifications
  • Professional tier parts
  • Bronze material
  • Durable
  • comes with a wood shelled casing with back straps

However, the YanagisawaWO20 Alto professional saxophone doesn’t come for cheap. It is one of the high-end pieces that you acquire when you are established; however, it is worth every cent.

Yamaha YAS-280 Alto Saxophone

Another high-end saxophone from Yamaha is the YAS-280. Yamaha is famous for constructing instruments that are ideal for beginners. This is a good example of them. The intonation of this saxophone is excellent, which is an amazing yet surprisingly common trait by the Yamaha saxophone makers. The YAS-280 type is the improvement to the YAS-275. This instrument is good for beginners because of its light nature and that it has been properly shaped to make holding and playing easier.

Is the Yamaha YAS-280 Still the Top Student Saxophone???
photo source screenshot

The YAS-280 is the perfect example of the excellent tone that Yamaha instruments possess. Unlike the YAS-275, this saxophone has been fitted with a new neck receiver that is sturdier. The adjustment has also been improved with an advanced low B to C connection. The new neck receiver is very durable and improves the response of this instrument.

This saxophone has an adjustable armrest, which is a common feature for Yamaha saxophones.

Is the Yamaha YAS-280 Still the Top Student Saxophone???
photo source screenshot

List of Features

  • Gold body and keys
  • Possesses the Low B-C# Key
  • Multipurpose carrying case and added cork grease.
  • Stable neck receiver
  • Clear and fast response for Low notes.

This saxophone is the right choice of upgrade for an intermediate player who needs a more established instrument to match their prowess.

Here is a link to the item on amazon and some reviews from clients

Windsor MI-105 Alto Saxophone – Cheap

Windsor Alto Horn Bag MI-1005

Another great instrument for the learning saxophonist is the Windsor MI-1005. This is a beautiful instrument that has been designed to provide a comfortable and easier learning experience. This is the saxophone to get for students and those who play the saxophone as a hobby.

The Windsor MI-1005 has a neat brass body with a beautiful lacquer finish. Also, it has an engraved bell that provides even more elegance. Windsor is quite durable because of its steel springs, pins, and rods. This model provides very accurate intonation and reliable tuning, and this inspires confidence to the player wielding this instrument.

Cheapest Sax on Amazon VS My Professional Alto Saxophone

It comes with all the main features that beginners require to learn properly. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this sax is affordable. Thus it is the ideal choice for a starter saxophone.


  • Beautiful brass made body
  • Premium pads and Pearloid keycaps
  • Well responsive steel springs
  • It comes in a lightweight casing, with other materials such as a neck strap, grease, cleaning materials, and a plush hard.
  • 4.8 pounds in weight
  • Great for beginner level and intermediate players.

Ammoon Bend E flat Alto Saxophone

Ammoon Bend E flat Alto Saxophone  affordable cheap for beginners

For players looking for a decent saxophone that is, in fact, affordable, the Ammoon Eb bend alto saxophone is one of the choices you might want to consider.

This instrument is made from great quality bronze and possesses an elegant finish. There is also a unique carved pattern on the surface of this instrument. It has water-resistant leather pads and bluing needle which is an essential perk. The key lies on this saxophone have been built for comfort with abalone material. The Ammoon Bend E flat Saxophone reaches it’s tone well and also manages to play the F, Eb, and also the F#.

This saxophone is a great choice for classical and jazz music.


  • Quality bronze finish and a great look
  • F,F#, and Eb tones
  • It weighs around four kilograms
  • The instrument comes in a carrying case, with a neck, a mouthpiece with its cap, ten reeds, Sax strap, gloves, cleaning cloths, and a manual for the user.

This instrument is fine for intermediate level playing.

Roy Benson RBAS202K Student Alto Saxophone

Roy Benson RBAS202K Eb Student Alto Saxophone, Black Body with Gold Keys

Another addition to respected saxophone brands is Roy Benson. They are known for a number of quality instruments over the years, with the RBAS202K saxophone included. This sax has been built with precision and with the use of good quality metal. It is mostly preferred as a student saxophone since it has an accommodating and average build that makes learning easier. Furthermore, it is also affordable, and hence it would make a good starter Alto saxophone.

Its build allows good key action, and it is also easy to blow. There is also the option of using metal thumb rest for players who prefer more silence.


  • Brass body, anthracite black in color with brass keys
  • High F key
  • Hard blue springs made of steel
  • Comes with a light casing containing a mouthpiece with a cap and ligature, a cleaning cloth and a strap for carrying
  • 12.3 pounds in weight
  • Better suited for students

Etude EAS-100 Student Saxophone

Another instrument that students should check out the Etude EAS-100 Alto saxophone. This is a piece that has been built to be quite reliable for students. In fact, it comes out from the case ready for playing, and hence, students are less likely to be frustrated trying to make adjustments. This saxophone has been crafted from good quality metals that make it quite durable. Then, it comes at a low price as compared to others making it a convenient beginner flute.

These saxophone makers make sure that their products are well set up and ready for students so that a beginner will not have a difficult time with it. They aim to inspire confidence in young saxophonists, which encourages them to get better. This instrument produces strong tones easily, and it is consistent, making it harder to disappoint


  • Crafted using high-end metal
  • Best suited for beginner saxophonists due to ease of play
  • Accurate in adjustments
  • The instrument is for Key Bb
  • Reliable mechanics
  • 9.8 pounds in weight
  • Comes with a case, a cap, and mouthpiece, ligature and maintenance products

There is not a lot of information on this item, and so unless you are bent on acquiring the Etude EAS-100, this is one of the saxophone brands to avoid.

Yamaha YAS-23 Alto Saxophone


This is one of the Yamaha instruments that offers great sound and at a reliable price. It comes with an elegant design and a classy look. This saxophone gives a number of other student-level saxophones a run for their money with its ease of playing. The keys are properly positioned according to necessity and the manufactures crafted this instrument from the perspective of a player. The design emphasizes speed, comfort, and ease of play. With the YAS-23’s key positioning, students don’t have to adapt to any unnatural layouts.

This saxophone provides great intonation and flexible key action, meaning they are a great choice for band members starting out.


  • Key Eb
  • Yellow brass body
  • Durable keys that are power forged
  • Adjustable thumb rest
  • It comes in a hard casing and a 4c mouthpiece, ligature together with maintenance materials.
  • Plastic resonators
  • Steel springs
  • Drawn tone holes

This is a fantastic choice for a starter saxophone

Lazarro Professional Black Gold Alto Saxophone Eb E Flat

Lazarro Professional Black-Gold Keys Eb E Flat Alto Saxophone Sax, 11 Reeds, Case & Many Extras - 24 COLORS Available - 360-BK
Lazarro Professional Black-Gold Keys Eb E Flat Alto Saxophone Sax, 11 Reeds, Case & Many Extras – 24 COLORS Available – 360-BK

Saxophones from Lazarro work for all types of occasions and use. These saxophones are good for learning, for professionals, playing in concert bands, and also orchestras. Even though they are made in Russia, these instruments conform to the US music instruments standards.

With Lazarro saxophones, players get to choose between 24 different colors. There are also variations of keys, but this does not affect the sound or quality. This saxophone is quite durable and still manages to fit into a student’s budget. It also has an elegant look common with this brand.


  • Brass body with a classy engraving on the bell
  • F and High F keys
  • Metal resonators and convenient leather pads
  • 11 extra reefs with a carrying case and other extra materials
  • Available in different colors
  • Metal thumb rest
  • Key screws that adjust the height

Hallelu HAS-200 Alto Saxophone

Also, for beginners, the HAS-200 Alto model is great for a starter saxophone. It has a golden body with a beautiful lacquer finish. This instrument comes with leather pads fitted with metal resonators.

The key to this sax is High F#. On the package, it comes with a carrying case, a neck strap, ligature, mouthpiece, and cap.

The Hallelu HAS-200 is a decent piece that does the job. However, for professionals, you might want to acquire something more powerful. Another interesting feature of this instrument is the 30-day money-back guarantee that is unconditional.

They have also placed a warranty for 1 year for this instrument


  • Gold covered keys and body
  • Leather pads with metal resonators
  • Adjustable to the player’s preference
  • Neck strap
  • 15 pounds in weight
  • Carrying case, mouthpiece and cap, and ligature
  • Suitable for beginners

Glory Professional Eb Alto Saxophone

Glory Professional Alto Eb SAX Saxophone Gold Laquer Finish
Glory Professional Alto Eb SAX Saxophone Gold Laquer Finish, Alto Saxophone with 11reeds,8 Pads Cushions,case,carekit,Gold Color, NO NEED TUNING, PLAY DIRECTLY

For the professionals out there, another piece you might want to consider is from the Glory brand. This is a reliable choice, especially when you do not have a lot to spend on a saxophone or, you don’t want to have to make a lot of payments to really own it. It is cost-efficient and also works for beginner level saxophonists. This piece is durable, meaning you can stick with it for some years to come and still be able to keep using it when you find your sound.

The Glory Professional Alto Eb saxophone is even suitable for children since it has accurate and well-placed sound holes that allow for comfort when playing.

What’s great about the instruments from this brand is the fact that they subjected to testing by music professionals before they are delivered to clients. They have to pass a company quality check before they are sold.


  • Gold covered with a hand-engraved bell that provides the classy look a professional wants in a saxophone
  • Hits E flat and also has a High F
  • Good quality leather pads fitted with metal resonators
  • Key height screws that adjust accordingly
  • Metal thumb rest
  • The package comes with a hard-shelled carrying case, 8 mouthpiece pieces, and 11 extra pieces of reeds. There’s also one pair of gloves and a cleaning and maintenance kit which has a cleaning rod, cleaning cloth and grease.
  • It is about 10 pounds in weight.

This saxophone is ready to play from the moment you unpack it, and so a beginner can easily use it.

Glory is a beginner brand, unlike some great names like Yamaha or Yanagisawa, but with this instrument, they are really breaking into the market.

Jupiter Alto JAS700 Eb Alto Student Saxophone

Jupiter JAS700 Student Eb Alto Saxophone.jpg

Jupiter JAS700 Student Eb Alto Saxophone.jpg

Jupiter’s line of instruments still manages to prove they are worthy even in the current times. One of their great pieces is the JAS7OO student saxophone.

This is a beautiful piece that has been designed using the current technology to ensure accuracy and improve playability. It is gold covered with its keys made from high-quality brass that gives it good durability.

The JAS700 is best suited for beginners and comes with all the advanced features that one needs for learning. It has been built to produce good quality sound and is strong enough for rigorous student use.


  • Brass body with gold lacquered keys
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Strong and durable
  • A neat, elegant look
  • Package contains a wooden frame casing, ligature, and mouthpiece
  • Key in High F#
  • Tilting Rocker arm for comfort when playing

Again, these better suit students. Professional players in search of the high-end piece need to consider the likes of Yamaha.

Legacy AS750 Intermediate Alto Saxophone

beginners and Intermediate Alto Saxophone

Legacy boasts of a few good quality instruments, and therefore they are definitely worth the try. A valid example is the Legacy AS750 saxophone that provides good value for money. Legacy instruments are crafted to strictly adhere to specifications, and so you know what to expect with them. The Legacy AS750 is an intermediate level instrument but can also serve a beginner well. It is user-friendly and hence, beginners learn quicker with it.

This instrument has good intonations and a superb tone. It also provides a fun experience for the player. Furthermore, this piece is quite durable and can serve a student for years to come without deterioration in sound. The pricing of this instrument is reasonable making it a good choice for starting saxophonists.

This brand provides a reliable money-back guarantee.

However, for more experienced players looking for a challenge, you might want to look at some of the professional pieces on this list.


  • Elegant brass body in clear lacquer
  • Well-spaced keys
  • Reliable price
  • Suitable for Jazz
  • Keys to Bb and F
  • Suitable option for beginners
  • Comes in a hard-shelled casing that is multipurpose, with a neck strap, mouthpiece with a cap and ligature

A link to the Item on Amazon

Merano WDF419 Alto Saxophone

Merino is another brand that produces all types of instruments. This brand provides some unique features to its instruments, making them unique to the market. They have instruments for all playing levels, from beginner to professional.

What is commendable about this brand is that they are very keen on customer satisfaction, and hence they take their customer reviews quite seriously. With the WDF419, students get an instrument that is comfortable as well as properly responds to them.

This brand is recommended for students who prefer learning by themselves. The brand is not too well known, but the reviews from clients seem to justify it as one of the reliable ones.

It, however, surprising they don’t offer a cleaning rod together with the cleaning cloth they put in the package.


  • Lacquer plated body
  • E flat Key
  • 11 pounder
  • It comes with a hard-shelled casing lined with velvet. A screwdriver, gloves, cleaning cloth, a tuner, and a music stand.

A number of saxophones don’t come with tuners, which is a commendable addition by this brand. Here is where you can find it on Amazon

Yamaha YAS-82ZII custom Z Alto Saxophone

yamaha sax

Another Yamaha product that deserves recognition is the YAS-82ZII saxophone. After the development of Custom Z back in 2003, Yamaha ha able to adapt it effectively to produce instruments that are meet the expectations of high-level musicians. A lot of craftsmanship and technology go into the making of Yamaha instruments, and that’s why they are one of the top saxophone brands.

This is well recognized as a professional level saxophone. It offers players selection in terms of tone. It also has a very wide range and can serve for use in bands as well as orchestras. The responses to this piece are great.

They have also provided a better Low B-C connection that allows for better responses from the instrument.  Specifications

  • One-piece bell that has been engraved to resemble some vintage saxophones.
  • Metal resonators, domed to produce better response and range.
  • Wider bore with a V1 neck for great flexibility.
  • A Front F key that can be adjusted.
  • A Lightweight casing that offers good protection.
  • Shoulder strap
  • 14 pounds in weight
  • Very clear pronunciation on any range
  •  For use by professionals and great intermediate level players.

Yamaha instruments are recognized to be of great quality with the YAS-82ZII included. However, their products are not cheap, and you might need to make a number of payments for this piece. Furthermore, not all players prefer Custom Z in which case there are other selections.

HERE’s where you can find it

Kaizer 1000 series Student Alto Saxophone

Kaizer Alto Saxophone E Flat Eb Nickel Silver 1000 Series

Kaizer series of instruments are not very common, but they offer great playability. Their beginner models provide good functionality as well as the versatility that players prefer. The pricing of these instruments is also reasonable making them an honorable mention.

This is one of the brands that try to eliminate the need for beginners to acquire new saxophones when they get into the intermediate level. This is especially great for students who don’t want to keep spending money to replace their saxophones.

Kaizer instruments are built to last for a long time, and hence it is a good investment for a beginner. Kaizer alto saxophone has been built to be fast in response and touch-sensitive which makes it less intimidating for beginners and therefore makes learning easier. Furthermore, it is quite comfortable thanks to the professional leather pads and allows for speedy action due to the high-end steel springs.

This piece is in the E flat key and has been designed for beginners and is effective for school bands and even orchestras. The brand also offers a reliable warranty.

Check out this piece on Amazon


  • Top Quality Yellow Brass
  • A choice between colors such as the gold lacquered or silver and black coating.
  • Warranty for a lifetime on the basis of manufacturer default
  • Offers a free trial for 45 days with an assured money-back guarantee
  • 7 pounds in weight
  • Premium steel springs and pro leather pads.
  • Designed to cater for beginners and intermediate level.

I would recommend this brand to beginners; however, for the intermediate level, there are higher-end pieces, but they cost a little more.

Here is a link to the item

Final Thoughts – What Saxophone is the best choice?

When choosing the best saxophone, you need to consider the main factors, such as the affordability of the item, your level of expertise, and even personal preference. This is why it’s always advisable to test the sax when possible to determine whether it is the right piece for you.

In my opinion, for beginner level alto saxophone, you are in safe hands with a Selmer AS711 Alto Saxophone.

At the intermediate level, I would recommend the Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L+92D+P E flat Alto saxophone with the Yamaha-480 being a close second.

My choice of the best alto saxophone for the professional level is definitely the Yanagisawa WO20 series. Even though it might seem a little steep this instrument is a masterpiece and promotes expression and freedom.

When purchasing a saxophone, it is always essential to be prepared. Conducting valid research and also sampling some of these instruments for yourself is enough to tell you what you want. Which is why I hope this guide helps you make the right decision concerning before proceeding to buy.

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